Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 21st August 2014, 15:21   #1
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Smile A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

It all started with one of those 'Book Now Travel Later' offers from Spicejet.
I clicked the Web and booked some tickets as follows:
Travel date : 24.7.2014, Chennai-Kolkata-Bagdogra at Rs.2199/pax - Booked during April 1st week.
Travel date : 29.7.2014, Bagdogra-Kolkata-Chennai at Rs.2405/pax - Booked during May 1st week.

Only then I checked some blogs and realised its going to be peak monsoons all over the north-east in July. These blogs and sites also warned me not to travel at these times. Though a bit hazy, I had no guts to cancel the bookings. Rather lets go and check out some of those 'Cats & Dogs' over the Himalayas, I thought.

The idea was:
Land at Bagdogra, enquire the monsoon situations, and reach Darjeeling (at-least up-to).
There again, if the road, climate and monsoon conditions are safe, go to Gangtok.
Chill out in Gangtok. Check with the tour operators, and if possible visit Nathula.
Do the plans on the move. Find lodges on arrival.
Worry-not about the rains or slides, Just enjoy the trip as far as you go.
Run down to catch the flight back.

Later, it was during the first week of July, I opened up this topic to my wife and daughter, to their wild excitement.
From then on it was simply just counting the days to take off.


The Day Before Boarding - 23.7.2014 Wednesday in Chennai:

Clicked the web, took some numbers and called some hotels in Bagdogra. One didn't answer and the other quoted high. Took some numbers and called a hotel in Darjeeling. The first guy answered positive. Asked him about the weather, rooms, and also is it viable to proceed to Darjeeling straight from Bagdogra. He was again positive. The room rent he quoted was much lesser than what I expected. He also said he will post a Sumo to pick us up at the airport.


Day 1 - 24.7.2014, Thursday.

We left home at 7.30 am, took a city bus and reached Chennai airport at 8.30 am. The departure is at 10.05 am, and it is a direct flight to Bagdogra with a stop at Kolkata, no need to change planes.


So here we are. An on-time departure takes us up over the Chennai skies.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-020.jpg

Oops! We got company at 30000 ft.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-035.jpg

Around noon - Over the skies of the rain soaked City of Joy.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-88.jpg

After a touch-down at Kolkata, we were air-borne once again.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-094.jpg

We reached Bagdogra at 14.05 hrs. The Sumo was already there, waiting for us.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-149.jpg

This Sumo was booked exclusively for us, they call it a reserved taxi. The rent is Rs.2000 nett all inclusive for a pick up at the airport and drop at the hotel in Darjeeling, a distance of about 70 kms.

There are several other regular unreserved taxis, mostly Sumos plying from Siliguri to Darjeeling and to Gangtok. The fare on these common taxis are Rs.130 per head for Darjeeling and Rs.200 per head for Gangtok. Total occupants per Sumo is around 10 excluding the driver. These taxis start once all the seats get filled up, and these are available down the corner at Hill Cart Road, opposite to Siliguri bus terminus.

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 16:18. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd August 2014, 09:22   #2
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

We expected the Bagdogra and Siliguri regions to be soaked in rains and the weather to be a bit cold, but here the sun was scorching mercilessly and we felt like it is hotter than in Chennai.

"Shall we start?" asked Mr.Bhutia the driver.
I could see him sweltering in heat and raring to go.

The Sumo left the airport at exactly 2.30 pm. At first the car was heading towards Siliguri but no even a mile down we saw a big procession and some traffic pile up on the main road. So Bhutia turned back and took a detour through some other parallel road that skipped passing through Siliguri.

Going by what we saw en-route, I believe Bhutia should have driven us through this route:
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-bagtodarjmap.jpg
Before we could hit the hills, we saw lots of tea gardens, many military camps and a wildlife (elephant) sanctuary as well.

Surprised about tea gardens in the plains.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-175.jpg


The road begins to look rough as we climb.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-166.jpg


More plantations & Estate labourers.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-192.jpg


By now, We were experiencing heavy to very heavy rainfall at many places and the drive became interesting. The road upto Kurseong was very narrow, and had a few steep hair-pin bends. Beyond Kurseong the roads were a bit better.


Those tracks, Seems like we are closing in on Darjeeling.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-204.jpg

It was still drizzling and the weather was foggy.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-206.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-210.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-211.jpg

Sure we are in Darjeeling
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-255.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-258.jpg


Exactly at 5.30 pm the Sumo reached the periphery of the famous Chowrastra Mall area in Darjeeling. Bhutia dropped us there and told us to walk to our hotel which is about 200 meters up inside the mall area. He said "This is the limit for cars, taxis or any automobiles to go". We paid the taxi fare, thanked him and started our walk. The whole mall area was looking wet despite the rains ceasing a bit. In no time we found our hotel and got checked in. Time we took some bed-rest.


Later in the evening we went out for a stroll, just browsing around the mall area.

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1176.jpg

Attachment 1284774

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1181b.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1193.jpg

Had our supper at KFC, which was just next floor to our lodge, almost like an in-house restaurant.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1188.jpg

Night fall, over the mall.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1159.jpg


Our plan for tomorrow is to hire a taxi and go out for a 'local sight seeing', as many places as quick as possible.
After that to decide what to do and where to go.
But for now, we want to call it a day.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 16th September 2014 at 18:47. Reason: Removed liquor shop image
Ddrive is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th September 2014, 23:18   #3
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Day.2 - 25.7.2014 Friday.


The scene through our window, when I woke up.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-a1.jpg

Blue sky with not much of clouds & need not worry that the rains gonna lock us up. I look down, and there is no one yet on the streets, not even any chirping of birds. It was all quiet but so bright.


I've overslept? The alarm failed?
I reach out for my cellphone and it showed the time as 4.50 am.
Rechecked the time with my wife's phone.. yeah 4.50 it is.
Back home Chennai, it'll be pitch dark isn't?
How it is dawning so early over the Himalayas?


Then at 6, I walked out to check the neighbourhood.

Morning scenes at the Mall area.

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-a2.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-b.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-c.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-d.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-e.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-g.jpg


While walking back to my hotel, I saw a well dressed man, probably heading for his work, gave a stare at me, my flask, my umbrella and my camera and wished me "Good morning sir". I promptly reciprocated.

He then asked me "Do you need a taxi sir? Siliguri, Gangtok or Sight-seeing?"
"May be Yes" I replied.

He was happy and he thanked his God for making him meet me that early in the dawn. He said he will show us around 10 locations (he named a few which I never knew) and that the taxi fare will be Rs.1200/-. He informed that if I had to come through any agent or a hotel-desk, the price would have then been 1400. I agreed since he sounded reasonable. He told me to meet him around 8 am near a clock-tower down the mall road. He said his name is Ganesha, he gave me his contact number, and took mine.


So we get ready to leave.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-l.jpg

We walked through the mall area. The fog is cleared now.

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-f.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-j.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-h.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-i.jpg

The clock at St.Andrew's Church shows it is 7.55 am.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-k.jpg

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 12:50. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th September 2014, 23:38   #4
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Mr.Ganesha, was there already, waiting for us.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-.jpg

The first stop was here, we were the first visitors for the day.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-b.jpg

This place exhibits some serious art works of Hand-embroidery.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-c.jpg

Fresh arrivals - A Vegetable Shop, by the gallery.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-d.jpg

Next is the Japanese temple.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-e.jpg

And the 'Peace-Pagoda' - Both in one stop.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-f.jpg

The Wagon-R takes us through the sleepy little streets of Darjeeling.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-g.jpg

And out towards the open valleys.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-h.jpg

A crowded neighbourhood - How many cars are there in this picture? How many people are seen? Spot the Cat?
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-i.jpg


Ganesha said, this place is called the 'World Famous Tea Gardens'
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-j.jpg

A hamlet amidst the tea gardens.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-k.jpg

Next up is the Rope-Car Ride.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-l.jpg

The Rope-Ride gives us some panoramic views.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-m.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-n.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-o.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-p.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-q.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-r.jpg

The Rope-Car Station on the other end, We were given a break of about 20 minutes here.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-s.jpg

Obsolete Rope-Cars.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-t.jpg

The 'Tenzing Rock' - Maintained by the HMI.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-u.jpg
Said to be the place Where Mr.Tenzing Norgay used to practice his climbs when he was young.

A youngster tries his agility.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-v.jpg

Next up is - The Zoo.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-w.jpg

And the HMI.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x.jpg

Both housed in the same campus
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z.jpg

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 12:56. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th September 2014, 23:46   #5
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Inside the Zoo, the Bear is the first one to meet you.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z1.jpg

A Himalayan Blue Sheep, Tagged.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z2.jpg

A Leopard.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z3.jpg

The Eye of the Tiger.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z4.jpg

A pose, exclusively for my cam.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z5.jpg

Why am I here behind the bars? - Makes any sense man?
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-z6.jpg


Museum, Art Gallery, Japanese Temple, Peace Pagoda, Tea Gardens, Rope-Car, Tenzing Rock, Zoo & HMI, thats nine down the list.

Now its already around 3 Pm and Mr.Ganesha was driving us back. Just then my wife asked Ganesha, What is his name? for which he politely replied, My name is Ganesh, Ganesha Koirala, and I have nothing to do with this Manisha Koirala By this time Ganesha had become a lot friendly & accustomed with us and started calling me and my daughter by our first names.

"Debbie, Do you want to go for the toy train ride?" he asked my daughter. That question was for the all of us, we know. My folks stayed dumb. We have seen that train coming and going and hope a ride is not required now.. we felt.

So then the list is complete and the sight-seeing is over.

Ganesha told us that its been raining all through the month and we were very lucky to have such a bright sunny day today right from the morning. He said, its only this morning, after nearly two months, somebody in Darjeeling got a glimpse of the Kanchenjunga for a few minutes.


While I was pondering about our next move, a move over to Gangtok, Ganesha broke the silence and asked us, whats your plan for tomorrow?.

I asked him whether it is possible to start now and reach Gangtok before it is dark. He told us not to do that. He said he wants to stop the car for a minute and talk to us. He gave us a few suggestions and told us to think about it.

1. He suggested, to take us for a drive upto Mirik lake. He said the roads, sights and sceneries are worth a visit. A full day drive upto Mirik and back - Taxi fare Rs.2000/- (One fantastic suggestion ofcourse, but for this we have to spend one more day here in Darjeeling, which we can't afford)

2. For going to Gangtok on an economy basis, he told us to check for return taxis first, the ones which have come to Darjeeling from Gangtok, the SK registered taxis. They charge a couple of hundreds less.

3. He also gave us info about per-head-fare common taxis regularly plying between Darjeeling and Gangtok, which we didn't opt for.

4. He was willing to drive us to Gangtok for Rs.2500/- and requested us to call him any time.


What will be the fare for a drive to Gangtok via Kalimpong? I asked Ganesh, For which he remained thinking for a while. I was curious about taking this Darjeeling-Teesta-Kalimpong-Gangtok round-about, since I faintly remember reading a post by Mr.HVK on Tbhp, about this route as one amongst the best drives in India.

Ganesha dropped us on the periphery road and left.


The evening was spent once again walking around the market street and the mall area. It was here on the market street (or bazaar street?) while buying some roasted corns, we met an Army Jawan who sprang out of his Maruti Gypsy, and shook hands with me on hearing us conversing in Tamil. He said he is from Thirumanagalam area in Madurai which is ofcourse my home town. So when the four of us were standing there and talking for a moment, another young lady in Jeans and T-shirt poked my wife on her shoulders and exclaimed "Ahaa,Thamilla pesikiringalaa? (Are you conversing in Tamil?). A surprising bump on another tamilian at the same time. The lady said, she is a tamilian settled in Malaysia since her birth, and all her folks & family members in Malaysia use to converse only in Tamil. She said she has come on a visit to India and its a pity that she has never been to Tamilnadu yet. That place being a busy & crowded junction and also since the Jawan was on his duty, we parted ways within minutes.


It was late in the evening, we were sitting in our room. We got a call from Ganesh.

"Did you decide where you are going tomorrow?" he asked.

"We are going to Gangtok, tomorrow morning, the hotel desk said they will try to get us an SK taxi" I gave him a frank reply.

"Ok, You can call me if you don't get one" he suggested.

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 13:05. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th September 2014, 00:05   #6
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Day 3 - 26.7.2014 Saturday.

Another fine morning in Darjeeling. Requested my folks to get ready so that we can quit early. Went to the reception to check about the SK cab, but none was there. I had a faint perception we gonna hire Ganesha's car again for today. Let it be a couple of hundreds more, but he seems to be reasonable, and lets fix a deal with him for this Kalimpong route. I sat there for a while holding my phone in hand and waiting for Ganesha to call. Ganesha called at 7 am sharp, think he had been sitting at home hesitating not to wake us up this early.

"Good morning sir, You got the cab?" - He was anxious to know.

"Ah yes no, we just woke up & didn't check it out, so what about you, you thought about reducing the price a little?"

He sounded relieved a bit and said, "Last night I was thinking and also had a chat with my wife, and I think, I can explain to you in person, I will come to your hotel and talk" (Well, what his wife had to say anyway?)

"Yes, but at any case we want to leave around 9 or 9.30, not later than that" I replied.

"No no, We will leave at 8" he said, "I'm coming right away".

We packed our bags, vacated the room, walked down the boulevard and jumped into Ganesha's car. It was 8 am exactly and Ganesha began to talk. He said, its nice that I opted to go via Kalimpong, and urged us not to change this plan. He said he will drive in a relaxed way, stop at as many sight-seeing locations en-route Kalimpong, and then proceed and drop us at Gangtok by evening. That would mean a full day's drive with some sight seeing cum a drop at our destination (2 in 1). He was sticking to his quote of Rs.2500 for Gangtok-drop plus Rs.1000 for sight-seeing, total fare Rs.3500/- After a short negotiation from my end for Rs.3000, he sealed the deal for 3200. He assured to stick with us until we search and find a suitable hotel in Gangtok, board us in, and then leave.


So we hit the road that leads to Kalimpong.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-b.jpg

Darjeeling, seen from a distance.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-c.jpg

We reach a picnic spot called Lamahatta.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-d.jpg
They said this an eco-friendly garden maintained by an eco-friendly village. They had many home-stays around here.

We spent about half an hour here in Lamahatta.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-e.jpg

A shady road en-route Kalimpong.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-f.jpg

Lover's Meet View Point, Whos in there? My wife heads in to check it out.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-g.jpg

Its a point from where we view the confluence of rivers Rangit and Teesta.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-h.jpg

The road we had to drive through, or may be just driven through.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-i.jpg

By the time Ganesha gets more acquainted with us.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1239.jpg

Then we reach Teesta town, and Ganesha stopped the car over Teesta bridge.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-j.jpg
..and he took out a bundle which contained some pooja materials. He told us to wait in the car for a minute and said he had to carry out some rituals and throw the pooja-bundle into the river. He said he was keeping this bundle at home for more than month awaiting a chance to dump it into the river. Ganesha stood by the parapet, murmured some prayers, threw the bundle into the river and promptly returned in 5 minutes. Personal work no.1 over for Mr.Ganesha Koirala.

We continue. One among the many water falls enroute.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-k.jpg

Then we reach Kalimpong town. The Kalimpong sun was splitting our heads.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-l.jpg

Ganesha parked the car here in a busy market under the burning sun where so many other taxis were crowding and boarding commuters. He again told us to wait in the car for 5 minutes, and said he has to go to some government office to get signatures on some legal papers relevant to his family. So we were sitting there sweltering in heat for more than half an hour, but Ganesha never returned. A kind of strange environment as well as the hot sun prevented me from walking out of the car leaving alone my folks. We felt like we are kind of trapped.

A Kalimpong Kid next door.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-n.jpg

Another youth goes for a better seat with flawless connectivity
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-m.jpg

Finally, Ganesha appeared from nowhere, gasping and giving an apologetic look. He showed us some documents with sign and seals. Personal Mission-2 accomplished by Ganesha. Now we know what he has been conclaving last night with his wife and why he insisted sticking to Kalimpong route. Its alright.

Then we drove up towards the Deola hills (Or Delo Hills)
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-o.jpg

Deola hills Eco-park had a few view-points.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-p.jpg

It was raining over the valley.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-q.jpg

The place had facilities for Paragliding activities.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-r.jpg

Google says, this is a Tourist Home, atop Deola hills.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-t.jpg

Heavy rains looking imminent.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-s.jpg

This is the Darjeeling - Kalimpong - Deolo Hills route we took.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-dajkali1.jpg


Then we moved of from Deola Park. Ganesha said there are two more sight-seeing stops, both on the way we are going, one a Buddha temple and the other a Hanuman temple, but the rains are pounding this hard, what say? he asked. We stayed dumb again. So Ganesha showed those two places from inside the car and started speeding towards Gangtok.

A biker taking shelter from the rains.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-u.jpg

That road that goes straight is the regular one to Gangtok. Can you see a small road above on the left? Thats the one which goes towards a village called Tar-Khola, which is about 20 kms away (I guess) right across the hills. Ganesha stopped the car here to enquire with a fellow cab driver about the road conditions across the ghat. Then he took left and went for the short-cut through the Tar-Khola Ghats.

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 17:05. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th September 2014, 00:34   #7
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Tar-Khola Ghat Route seemed less-travelled, lonely, broken and rough. Ganesha looked apologetic once again.. for taking this short cut, but got cheered up when we said we love travelling on this kind of roads. Here are some pictures, all clicked through the wind sheild.

A milestone - reading to 'Tar-Khola'
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-e.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-b.jpg

Bare footed ladies walking in the rains.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1450.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-j.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-k.jpg

Forest Department Watch-Tower.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-l.jpg

There we see NH-31A. It intercepts at place roughly 7 kms before Rangpo.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-n.jpg

The Tar-Khola Shortcut.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-delogtk2.jpg

..The yellow line drawn by me:
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-tarkhola2.jpg


On NH-31A, 3 kms to Rangpo.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1498.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1500a.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-2844.jpg

The road at Sikkim side was good.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1502.jpg

Around 5 o clock in evening - Gangtok 5 kms.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1529.jpg

Reached Gangtok and Checked into a hotel on MG Road - Ganesha left happily.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1531.jpg

Hotels on MG Road are comparatively expensive than hotels in other areas, but I think this is the place to be, shops, lodges, tour operators, bars, pubs and everything.

We talked the hotel manager about our intention to visit Nathula. He said, it is already late but he can fix it however. He called and talked with his usual tour operator and told us it is almost done and that we will be let known about vehicle details and confirmation etc., by 8 o clock. He said the taxi fare including permit expenses will be Rs.750 per head. We happily agreed.

MG Road by night.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1540.jpg

My guys exploring MG Road.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1548.jpg

We had our dinner here, this place was right in front of our lodge.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1552a.jpg

Then we returned back to our lodge, met the manager for collecting our forms, passes, or permits etc., for going to Nathula. How careless he had been?, He totally forgot to follow and fix it up. He hurriedly tried calling his agent again but the agent never came up. The manager simply dumped us saying he can not do anything after this. What a let-up.

So we ran again up and down MG Road hunting for any shops or travel-operators who are still open. Its already 9pm and almost all the shops are closing down. At last I could spot one tour-operator down the steps who had his lights still on. I ran down to talk to him. There was another couple ( Introducing: The Agarwals) sitting and talking already, they too are in the same soup. The tour operator told us, that all the shared seats are filled up and he cant help any more at this last minute. If we still insist, he said he can try and fix an SUV exclusively for the 5 of us (we three + the other couple) and the price would be Rs.5500. To add up to the woe, somebody around said Nathula is closed for visitors on Mondays (the day after tomorrow) so it is tomorrow or never. I told him to wait and ran up over to the road where my folks were standing. I told my guys about the extra expenditure involved, and we were pondering over it for a minute. Down the steps I could see the couple are also coming up and the tour-operator closing down his shop and disappearing in the dark.

I asked the couple Whats up and why the guy is gone. Gaurav (Agarwal) said that the guy is sticking to his 5500 and unwilling to negotiate or get in more poolers. I told Gaurav that we agree to pool in on that 5500 if they both do. Gaurav said in that case he had the contact number of another agent who quoted Rs.4500 and he attempted calling him. Despite it being late in the night the agent answered after two or three repeated attempts. Gaurav talked for while and said 'for 5 pax they want 5250' and we all agreed. The agent told us he will meet us in his office on MG Road at 7am next morning and then fill all the forms and get us the permits. For now, we just had to trust him. The agent called again and told us to bring along 2 passport size photographs of each of us. OMG, now we have to run around MG road hunting for a photographer.

Luckily we found one still open, right next to our lodge.

Instant PP Photo, ready in 10 minutes.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1569.jpg

By then it was already 10 o clock.
With fingers crossed, we crashed.

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 17:17. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th September 2014, 14:47   #8
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Day 4 - 27.7.2014, Sunday.


Woke up and called Gaurav.

Gaurav said the agent will be coming only at eight, and he asked us to come to agent's place in time. So we reported there exactly at 8 am, and could see the Agarwals arriving at the same time. Gaurav made some calls and informed that the agent is on the way.

So we hanged around on MG road for a while - Btw, The Agarwals are from Delhi.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1611.jpg

Gaurav got a call and we both went into the agent's office. The agent was there, she was a lady. She collected the fees, filled the forms, pinned our photos and prepared our applications. She told us to wait a little, and said she will soon send her man with permits. We waited for more than half an hour. At around 9, her man came out with a bunch of papers. He spotted us on the road, gestured at us to stay and just walked past. Gaurav said, "Now only he is going to the permit office "

Gaurav got another call at 9.20, and the caller told us to come to the nearby taxi-stand. We went fast and the agent's man was standing there with the permits. Woof, What a relief.


Our next waiting period was another 15 minutes, for our car to come.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1618.jpg

Then came the XYLO, our ride for the day.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1621.jpg

We jumped in and the drive began instantly. See the Xylo showing the time as 9.35 am.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1621a.jpg

This is the route ahead:
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-nathula.jpg

Just a few yards up, The first land side. Just getting cleared.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1626.jpg

We reach the 3rd mile check-post and go through just in time.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-2549.jpg
(The board above says, Going after 10 am is not permitted.)

Nathula, Babamandhir & Tsomgo - Here we come !
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1638.jpg

Sweet Vendors, at the 3rd mile Check-post Ciao Ladies !!
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1636.jpg

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 15:11. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th September 2014, 17:22   #9
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

The Naughty Roads of Nathula Some clicks on the go.

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1647.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1690.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1693.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1696.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1702.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1704.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1718.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1729.jpg

Another landslide being cleared.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1738.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1740.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1742.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1764.jpg

Yaks.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1769.jpg

Hills have eyes.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1771.jpg

A Photo break.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-006new.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1808.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1812.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1813.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1814.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1828.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1835.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1837.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1848.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1853.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-2082.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1860.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1862.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1863.jpg

We reach the gates of Nathula.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-1867.jpg

Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 15:15. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th September 2014, 19:39   #10
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

At the Alighting point, inside Nathula.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-.jpg

The Agarwals going for their woolens. Yes, it was chilling here.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-b.jpg

Daughter eyeing for the final climb by foot.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-c.jpg

A beautiful elevation.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-c1.jpg

Nathula Arch.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-d.jpg

Sheer excitement.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-e.jpg

We have to climb another 150 feet, taking the steps and pavements.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-f.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x3.jpg

Soldiers so Cheerful.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-g.jpg

Nathula War Memorial.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-h.jpg

A Group Snap, with a Chinese backdrop.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-i.jpg

Soldiers from the south.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-j.jpg
We had a chat in Tamil with these jawans from south. The one in the front says, "I am from Thanjavur, and he is from Madurai"

At the ZERO Point.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-k.jpg

The India Gate on Indian side. The road on Indian side ends.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-l.jpg

The Chinese Gate. The road enters into China.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-m.jpg
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-n.jpg

The land in between.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-o.jpg

Chinese bunkers.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-p.jpg

A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-q.jpg
(Note: I do not know the meaning of what it is written in Chinese language. Please delete the pics if they are found to be offensive)
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-r.jpg

Your attention please.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-s.jpg

Border-wire.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-t.jpg

A Souvenir.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-u.jpg
The the red colour roof is Indian post. The blue one is Chinese post. The watch tower beyond the blue-post is the of the Chinese.

The Chinese Soldier .
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-w.jpg

He is looking at me.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x.jpg


The Hills have ears too.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x6.jpg

While some are still standing mesmerized.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x5.jpg

We start our walk back to our cars.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x4.jpg


Walking apart, I'll soon be afar, Back to my comforts, In sleep as I fall,
I see theres a soldier standing tall, Who'll never be sleeping at all..



I dedicate this post to the soldier I see in this picture.
A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula-x2.jpg


Last edited by Ddrive : 13th September 2014 at 15:41. Reason: Assembly line edits.
Ddrive is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th September 2014, 23:42   #11
Team-BHP Support
 
Eddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Delhi
Posts: 7,396
Thanked: 4,667 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing
Eddy is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th September 2014, 18:48   #12
BHPian
 
gearhead_mait's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 391
Thanked: 1,226 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

A nicely crafted and a very detailed travelogue! Wonderful pictures to complement the writing.

Gangtok and Darjeeling are evergreen tourist destinations. But next time I would recommend you to check out some of the other beautiful places in these regions like Rishap, Lava (WB) , Ravangla, Pelling Kaluk (W Sikkim) and some exotic North Sikkim destinations.
gearhead_mait is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 15th September 2014, 09:49   #13
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
A nicely crafted and a very detailed travelogue! Wonderful pictures to complement the writing.. recommend you to check out some of the other beautiful places in these regions like Rishap, Lava (WB) , Ravangla, Pelling Kaluk (W Sikkim) and some exotic North Sikkim destinations.
Thank you Gearhead_mait. Sure would love to visit all these places someday.
Anytime if you plan a drive to these places with your friends, do call me too.
I will fly in/out Kolkata and join you
Ddrive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th September 2014, 11:01   #14
Distinguished - BHPian
 
saket77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Ranchi
Posts: 3,186
Thanked: 4,190 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

Very well written sir, ans some striking pictures too. The thread will prove informative for the travelers to the region, such are the details.

Nathula and North-Sikkim is in my to-do list for long, somehow gets delayed every year. Lets see when it materializes.

Thanks,
Saket
saket77 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 15th September 2014, 12:08   #15
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,585
Thanked: 8,553 Times
Default re: A Quick Trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & Nathula

I remember walking on MG road in Gangtok, when they were re-laying the section. Its a pedestrian only section I presume?

Great write up.
ampere is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
10 Days - Darjeeling, Kalimpong,Gangtok and North Sikkim BlackPearl Travelogues 57 14th October 2015 19:21
Storme through the Hills: Kolkata to Darjeeling & Gangtok psurelia Travelogues 32 8th August 2014 22:58
An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok! Chevy_lover Travelogues 255 12th December 2013 13:30
Places to visit during Gangtok - Kalimpong - Pelling - Darjeeling trip devrajman Route / Travel Queries 4 30th September 2009 10:36


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:05.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks